The Greek key has been connected to various meanings, and some claim that the key is meant to symbolize a maze or labyrinth. This interpretation is connected to a myth where Theseus fought a Minotaur in a labyrinth. There is actually a Greek bowl artifact that depicts Theseus dragging the dead Minotaur from the labyrinth, which is represented by the key frieze.
Other interpretations vary, however. Some have suggested that the key is meant to symbolize waves or snakes. The keys could also symbolize the bonds of love or friendship as well as the concept of devotion. Because of this, jewelry with this pattern tends to be used in marriages. The keys could also come to mean eternal life, the four cardinal points or the four seasons of life.
The most common form of the Greek keys appears in a standard, square-like pattern, although other patterns do exist. People may claim that they are related to the waves of the sea because a more wave-like pattern was found on the same shield used by Alexander the Great's father, Philip.
The Greek key, also sometimes referred to as the Greek fret, may have ties to the motif used to symbolize the river Meander, which is referenced in Homer's "The Iliad" because of its numerous twists.